Brandon Lockhart is a 25 year old 185cm guard from St Louis, Missouri that is playing hiss econd professional season and first with German team Giants Nordlingen. AS a rookie he played for BK Levicki Patrioti (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 34 games: Score-5(16.7ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-5(4.3apg), Steals-1(3.0spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 78.9%. He played at Drury (NCAA2) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 12.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 6.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 77.1%. He spoke to german hoops after the 73-69 win against the Licher Basket Baeren.
Congrats Brandon on the 73-69 win in Lich. How important was it setting the tone right from the start scoring 25 points in the first quarter. Was there already a small mental advantage early for Nordlingen on the Lich home court?
Getting off to a good start was really important because Lich is a very good offensive team and can cause problems for teams if they come out hitting shots. A good start allowed us to gain confidence and keep their crowd out of it for most of the beginning.
The game was very tight in the fourth quarter. Lich forward Elijah Allen kept Lich in the game. What made it so hard to stop him tonight?
When a really good player sees a couple shots go in, they become really tough to stop because they play with supreme confidence then. We allowed Elijah to see 1 or 2 shots go in and then it seemed like every thing he shot in the 2nd half found the net. He is a talented player that gained confidence as the game went on, so all we could try and do is make each shot he took challenging and live with the result.
Nordlingen kept Lich scoreless for three minutes in the fourth down the stretch while you scored 8 points to secure the win. What was key in the last minutes to seal the win on offense and defense?
Our defense down the stretch was definitely key. We got off to a really good start on defense that allowed us to build a big lead and then allowed them to hit a bunch of 3s in the 2nd half to make the game interesting. Finding our defensive again in the final minutes of the fourth quarter was the key to the victory more so than our offense.
Janek Schmidkunz shot 9/18 in the last two big wins against Team Ehingen and Lich. How much has he matured on the court with his game since the loss in Frankfurt?
Janek has been a key player for us all year even when he is not hitting shots because we know he is going to give us everything he has each game. He is one of our captains and has taken on more of a vocal leadership role for us as the season has progressed. He has been really important to the success we have been experiencing as of late.
Schmidkunz has scored in double figures in every game this season. Where would the team be now without his timely shooting?
We would not be the team we are because when he makes shots, the game becomes easier for everyone around him. Other players are able to find easier openings because teams are focused on not letting him beat them.
Nordlingen goes into the Christmas break with a 4 game winning streak. Has the more consistent defense been the most impressive thing in this winning streak?
I think so because we have had some games that we did not produce our best offensive numbers. So being able to play good defense and not let games get away from us when have rough offensive nights has been the key to this winning streak.
Nordlingen goes into the Christmas break with a record of 7-5. What is your team summary after 12 games?
That there is still a lot of room for improvement. We may have a record above .500 but there are still a bunch of things that we can clean up on both sides of the ball. We know what these areas are and will be looking to correct them as the season continues.
How proud are you of the team that they have turned the season around despite losing captain Fabian Brutting after the third game?
Really proud because when you lose a player and leader the likes of Fabian, it can really hurt your season if the team doesn’t rally together. Not one individual can provide what Fabian brings to the team, it takes a group effort which I believe we have done and is something we all should be proud of.
At the beginning of the season Nordlingen had problems in crunch time losing to Frankfurt, Leipzig and Elchingen, but now have won close games in the last weeks against Weissenhorn and now Lich. Is there more trust within each other in tight times on the court?
I think those games that we lost early in the season really prepared us for the close games we have had and the possible ones in the future. We were able to learn from some of the mistakes we made during those games and not allow them to happen again. Trust within each other has always been there. I just believe that we now know what to do when the game gets closer towards the end.
Your averaging 15,6ppg, 2,9rpg and 4,3apg. How happy have you been with your play? You have scored in double figures in every game. Is there anything too complain about?
I’m happy but not satisfied because there are definitely things to complain about. There is always room for improvement in the game of basketball. I know for sure that I need to cut down on unforced turnovers after the break. I’m sure I have allowed my man to beat me 1v1 a few times too many which hurts our team defense. But I’m just going to go out there each game and be the best I can be on that night and give everything I have for my teammates and coaches.
In what other areas can you focus on in your game in the second half of the season? Your averaging 1,9spg. Do you measure your defense on your success from last season in Slovakia where you led the league with 3,0spg. Can you still get even more aggressive on defense while staying out of foul trouble?
I do not really measure my defense on stats such as steals. It’s more about the things that do not show up on the stat sheet such as stopping your man 1v1, being in good help position, and helping finish defensive possessions with a rebound. Things like that are much more important I feel than steal stats. There may be more chances for me to be aggressive for more steals here and there but those will come from having good defensive fundamentals. I take care of those and the steal stats will come.
What are your team and individual goals in the second half of the season?
My goals are in line with the goals of the team which are to get better each day so we can continue to make a push at a playoff spot.
What was your fondest childhood memory of Christmas?
Baking Christmas treats with the family for Santa (Mom & Dad) to eat while my brother and I were sleeping. It’s something we always would do as a family and is something that I will always cherish!
What was the last movie that you saw?
How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
Thanks Brandon for the chat.